Vice President Pence on Thursday thanked Americans for their prayers and urged them to be “persistent” in praying for those fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Pence made the remarks alongside President Trump in the Rose Garden at a National Day of Prayer service with religious leaders. Pence also delivered a video address to a Pray.com National Day of Prayer streaming ceremony later in the day.
“Karen and I will both attest that the sweetest words that we ever hear are when people will take a moment, walk up, and say, ‘I’m praying for you,’” Pence said, referencing Second Lady Karen Pence. “And you know they mean it from their hearts and we hear it all of the time. We can attest, firsthand, America is a nation of prayer.
“The American people have long believed in the power of prayer, that the effective and fervent prayer of a righteous person availeth much, and that in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, we’re to present our request to God with the promise that the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer, Pence said, is the “core that runs through every era of American history.”
“In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established a day of fasting and prayer,” he said. “In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln urged Americans to pray so that, in his words, ‘The united cry of the nation would be heard on high, and answered with a blessing.’ And since 1952, every president has issued a proclamation in honor of the National Day of Prayer.”
Pence thanked Americans for their prayers and encouraged them to continue praying during the current crisis.
“Thank you for all you have done to see your family, your friends, your neighbors, and even strangers through these unprecedented times,” Pence said. “But today, with the deepest respect and a grateful heart, we urge you to be persistent in prayer.”
Pence asked Americans to pray for those who have the coronavirus and for the families who have lost loved ones. He requested prayer for “doctors and nurses and healthcare workers who have cared for our families as if they were their own” and for the “police, firefighters and first responders” who “have rendered care and sped those impacted by this dread virus to healing hands.” He also asked Americans to pray for the “men and women who defend this nation” and “are standing [at] a post at this hour in far-flung places around the world.”
Pence then paraphrased 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“On this National Day of Prayer, as we pray for the American people, for every American of every creed, let’s do so with faith in those ancient words that Americans have clung to throughout our history: ‘That if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray … He’ll do like He’s always done throughout every challenging hour in the history of this nation. He’ll hear from Heaven, and He’ll heal this land.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.